Neurosurgical Laser Techniques

  • P. W. Ascher
  • F. Heppner


Neurosurgery is one of the youngest of the surgical specialties, despite the fact that neurosurgical procedures might well have been carried out in prehistoric times. Certainly, according to the Ebers papyrus, specific neurosurgical operations occurred in ancient Egypt. The beginnings of modern neurosurgery date back to the 1880s, following which this specialty developed with breathtaking speed. Under the guidance of a few outstanding workers, the range of indications for neurosurgical interventions increased with great rapidity, even given the old-fashioned instruments then available. The first true innovation was the introduction of the Bovie knife; subsequently, the bipolar forceps and then, more recently, the operating microscope came into use. For this reason, even some of the more impressive successes were attributable more to improvements in diagnostic methods and anesthetic techniques than to the skill of the surgeon. Thus it was that the industrial production of lasers stimulated great interest in the medical world: The introduction of an “immaterial” knife meant that a true “nontouch technique” was available for the very first time in surgery.


Neurosurgical Procedure Operating Microscope Bipolar Forceps True Innovation Fresh Indication 
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  3. Stellar S, Polanyi TG, Bredemeier HC (1974) In: Laser Applications in Medicine and Biology, vol. II. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 241–293.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Ascher
  • F. Heppner

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